UP WVT cries foul over alleged neglect, lack of funding; calls for management overhaul

Twenty-one members of the UP Women’s Volleyball Team (UP WVT) alleged negligence under the watch of team manager Angela Villamil in the lead-up to the UAAP Season 85 collegiate volleyball tournament.

In a four-page letter dated Jan. 29, the players appealed to UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo to overhaul management under the university’s Varsity Sports Program (VSP).

Players said that Villamil has been “ignoring basic needs” and “neglecting injuries,” concerns they said were repeatedly raised to Villamil, the VSP and the Office of Student Affairs to no avail.

“There is little to no action, as well as a lack of urgency in attending to the needs of our team. We feel that they are invalidating our struggles and disregarding our love for the team and the University,” the letter read. 

The players also took issue with the supposed “power-tripping” by Villamil, claiming that she had been using her position to “influence coaching decisions.”

“Villamil is also a student, and we believe she does not have the qualifications to manage us. She does not have any corporate or professional work experience to merit such an appointment,” they added. 

Among those who co-signed were current team members Rem Altomea, Ethan Arce, Stephanie Bustrillo, Annikha Cabasac, Dannica Celis, Euricka Eslapor, Jum Gayo, Abilene Goc and Niña Ytang.

With Nemenzo’s term expiring yesterday as the Diliman chancellorship selection process begins, he has yet to respond as of press time.

‘Poor and mishandled’

Aside from their issues with the team manager, the UP WVT revealed that their monthly allowance has been reduced and delayed since January 2022, which they said has prompted some players to consider transferring to other schools.

The student-athletes’ dormitory balance also has yet to be settled, which they estimated to be around P600,000. They bared that travel expenses of players to and from training venues have not been reimbursed as well. 

As for post-workout recovery, the team claimed they have been receiving meager servings of food without proper packaging and utensils. 

The team also slammed the bubble set-up in which the team trained during Season 84 as “poor and mishandled,” saying no test kits were available and players who had COVID-19 symptoms were still allowed to play and train.

They claimed that standard treatment for injured players was not provided immediately, adding that the management’s failure to abide by the team physician’s orders aggravated their injuries.

They also raised the alarm on members underloading among other academic deficiencies, which they attributed to a “lack of communication” with their professors and academic units.

Call for a new management

In airing their grievances, the UP WVT said they hoped the Nowhere To Go But UP Foundation (NTGBUP) will be reinstated as the official team management, believing they would be “in good hands” under the said non-profit organization.

“With them, we are confident that we will be able to have a sustainable program where the donations and funds are properly accounted for and indeed are for the betterment of the [UP WVT],” the team said.

The NTGBUP previously handled the team from Seasons 78 to 82. During their stint, they sponsored the squad’s team-building activities and training camps in Thailand and Japan.

A volunteer group of UP alumni, the NTGBUP was set up to help and assist in the development of the university’s varsity teams. The non-profit is one of the financial backers of the UP Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT).

“Like the UP MBT building its winning culture with the help of NTGBUP, we want to make the university proud, too. We love UP and we know we can take things further with [them] as our official team managers,” the team stated.

In light of this, the NTGBUP released a statement earlier this morning, saying they had joined a dialogue involving the UP WVT, the Office of the Diliman Chancellor and College of Human Kinetics (CHK) Dean Francis Diaz last February.

While the school officials acknowledged the team’s management issues in the said dialogue, the request for new leadership was ultimately not granted.

“The CHK and Office of the Diliman Chancellor gave assurances that they would study and address the players’ concerns regarding their team manager,” NTGBUP Chairman Jed Eva III  said in the statement.

He added, “To our knowledge, [Villamil] has been stripped of this title, but continues to be part of the UP WVT management team.”